|DM: Assuming you can develop a stable base of support on the outside leg it provides stability to the pelvis that transfers to the inside leg. This enables the use of the inside leg as nolo describes. Inefficient skiers can not even begin to approach this end result. And you can not develop a stable BOS on the inside leg that transfers stability back to the outside leg. This is not meant to say you can not stand on your inside leg alone. You can. But it is a neat trick for circus acts and stunt skiers
David, until recently I thought exactly this way but I no longer do. Everything that you have said is valid and does not change as a result of what I am about to say. What I have to say is in addition to what you have said.
In the last year, I have begun to feel something in my skiing that can only be described as true balance on the inside ski. At times it is difficult for me to tell which foot is my balance foot during turns. This happens when I am doing very two footed turns. At times my outside foot comes off the snow a little and drifts over towards my inside foot. Normally this would indicate static skiing and banking to the inside but other highly respected instructors are telling me that I am not banking and not very static. For that reason alone I began studying balance and what it really is a year ago. Let me attempt to explain this.
Please David don't think that I am attacking you here. Everything you have said is right on the money and valid. I am just asking you to think and consider the fact that there could be something else at work as well. Put your thinking cap on.
You know that balance requires a three point contact in the foot with slight pronation towards the big toe to lock the central bones of the foot. Without this there is no true balance. I believe that you even stated this fact. When we try to balance on the inside foot we have heel contact and contact with the lateral plantar surface of the foot. We are standing on the outside edge of the ski and that rotates the foot towards pronation and we lose contact with the medial ball of the foot. Bingo, no balance because of only two contact points and no locking of the foot but is there a different way to lock the foot and achieve balance.
I think that there is. If we angulate the upper body slightly past vertical towards the outside of the turn we can put the CM on the line of action and over the center of pressure (CM directed towards edge of inside ski). Angulate to get the CM slightly past the line of action and we can rotate the ankle into inversion and contact the lateral cuff of the boot with the tongue. We can also dorsi flex the ankle and then be able to put the medial ball of the foot back in contact with the boot sole. Normally this would not be possible but the ski is bent into an arc providing enough two demensional contact to allow both dorsi flex and inversion. We then have good contact between the heel, the lateral plantar surface and resonable contact on the medial plantar surface of the ball of the foot. We also have a reasonable forth contact which is the lateral cuff of the boot. I believe these four contact points collectively provide enough stability to be resonably called balance. Now if you had just said what I have just said, I would think you were smokin somthing but I can feel this in my skiing so I know there is something there. What I don't know is if I have the mechanics right to account for what I know is there. Mull it over and tell me what you think.
For those of you thinking that I am advocating that balancing on the inside ski is just as good as balancing on outside ski, I will tell you that I am not. Regardless of what others are telling me about my own skiing I know mechanically I cannot both steer the inside ski effectively and balance on it at the same time. I can leverage the front of the inside ski while balancing on it in order to change the size of the turn but not truely guide it. Not being able to truely guide the ski would indicate to me, regardless of what others are saying, that I must be somewhat static in the turn. My CM may not be static but my steering has to be. The other problem that other instructors are picking up without understanding exactly what is going on is the fact that when the outside ski gets light and decambers I have to steer the tip of the outside ski into the turn. This results in a slight wedge after turn initiation.
All in all, while I believe that you can balance on the inside ski I don't believe this is the most efficient way of skiing. I do believe that being able to balance on the inside ski is the basis for being able to progressively transfer balance between the feet, starting from the fall line and continuing through the cross over to get a truely two footed turn. The key to two footed turns is tipping the outside foot towards the next turn from the fall line and allowing the inside foot to invert, dorsi flex and progressively become the new outside balance foot at edge change. Being able to balance on the inside foot is the only way to explain the two footed feel and the only way to explain progressive balance transfers. Our current thinking would make it necessary to do an active pressure transfer or lose balance. Active transfers is exactly how every expert skied not five years ago. I first saw this inside foot inversion thing while watching Bob Barnes ski.